Toenail Fungus Treatment
What is this evil toenail fungus, or onychomycosis?
Fungal infection of the nail, formally termed onychomycosis, or tinea unguium, is a very common ‘mishap’ that affects about 6-8% of adult population, although I have a feeling that this percentage is somewhat greater, but this is just the feeling, and the actual numbers come from some serious research paper which is referenced properly… somewhere else.
Both fingernails and toenails can be affected, but in most cases this is all about toenails. The first main reason for this is the fact that fungus adore the dark, moist and damp environment in which the feet live and sweat their lives.
The second main reason is the fact that there is a weaker blood circulation to the toes, compared with fingers, and this makes it harder for your immune system to seek and destroy the infection. If you believe in statistical methods, older males are more smitten by this pestilence then the rest of the population.
It doesn’t necessary mean that you are not taking care of your hygiene if you catch the fungus. These annoying things can be picked up anywhere – public gyms, swimming pools, showers, sauna rooms, cloakrooms, …
Just a little more facts to get us started: Nail fungal infections are usually caused by a fungus that belongs to a group of fungi called dermatophytes.
Fungi are microscopic organisms that don’t need sunlight to survive. While we usually perceive them as some small evil degenerates (by right, those ones which cause illness and infection), some fungi actually have beneficial uses. But we don’t care about them in this moment.
Besides dermatophytes, nail fungal infection can also be responsible by yeasts and molds.
Symptoms of toenail fungus
Usually there is no pain accompanying the symptoms, unless the condition is severe. Now let’s put some known symptoms in this nice list:
- Nail discoloration. Nail becomes yellow, green, white, or black.
- Patches or streaks. White or yellow patches/streaks are forming on the nail.
- Crumbling of the outside edges of the nail.
- Debris trapped under the nail plate.
- Overall changes in shape, disintegration. With the progression of the infection, nails can become brittle, thick, ragged, dull, distorted, crumbly, pieces of it can fall off or brake. The nail could fall off the finger completely.
- Inflamed skin. If left untreated, the skin underneath the nail and surrounding skin can become inflamed and painful.
- Foul odor is also a possibility.
Toenail fungus treatment with baking soda
Many people are using baking soda to treat toenail fungus, although this has not been (to my knowledge) supported with scientific research so far – except for the Method 3 on this page, which also uses some other ingredients. Because baking soda is widely available, inexpensive, and safe to use, this natural remedy is especially popular.
Here are basic two methods which you can try out; both of them rely on the fact that baking soda changes the pH of your skin, thus suppressing the growth of toenail fungus by changing their favorite growth environment.
Toenail Fungus Treatment METHOD ONE: SOAKING
- Mix baking soda with water – use some plastic basin for example.
- Soak your feet in this solution for about half an hour.
- Repeat daily.
Toenail Fungus Treatment METHOD TWO: PASTE
- Mix baking soda with lukewarm (room temperature) water to create a thick paste. Two parts baking soda to one part water usually does the trick (for example, 2 tablespoons of baking soda + 1 tablespoon of water).
- Rub this paste onto affected toenails (cover them with it), and try to get it beneath and along the sides of the nails.
- Leave the paste on the nails for a while (20 minutes).
- Rinse off.
- Dry the nails thoroughly.
- Go to youtube and listen to Seek and Destroy.
- Repeat two times every day until your nails are healthy again, and until you properly learn the lyrics from the previous step.
NOTE: It is normal if your nail falls off – a new healthy one will replace it.
If neither of the two methods work for you after about 3 weeks, read on.
Toenail Fungus Treatment METHOD 3: Oil-powder mixture for power users
This method includes baking soda as one of the ingredients, and it was found in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, in a case study conducted by B. D. Misner. It proved effective against the fungal infections of the feet. The procedure is fairly simple if you have all the ingredients.
You need baking soda, tea tree oil, sage oil, basil oil and arrowroot.
- Mix the ingredients.
- Apply the mixture to your feet and toes before putting your socks and shoes on.
Better penetration of the baking soda mixture is made possible by these oils. Allegedly even the new fungal growth will be discouraged.
Toenail fungus and athlete’s foot treatment with Vinegar
Quick browsing through google scholar and some scientific databases showed no direct scientific evidence that a vinegar soak can directly cure nail fungus, although some papers have demonstrated that vinegar can inhibit the growth of certain bacteria.
Nevertheless, people around the globe are reporting their successes in treating toenail fungus and athlete’s foot by using simple vinegar soaks. Of course, it may not work for everyone, especially if the toenail fungus case is severe. People use both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar for treatment.
Here are the recipes.
Vinegar for fungus METHOD 1 (hardcore)
- Fill some plastic basin with vinegar.
- Soak your feet in the vinegar for about 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse your feet.
- Pat your feet dry.
- Repeat daily.
NOTE: If your skin becomes irritated, jump immediately to METHOD 2.
Vinegar for fungus METHOD 2 (if method 1 causes skin irritations)
- Fill some plastic basin with mixture of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water.
- Soak your feet in this diluted vinegar for about 15 minutes.
- Rinse your feet.
- Pat your feet dry.
- Repeat every other day.
Toenail fungus treatment with Hydrogen Peroxide
We have talked about hydrogen peroxide in previous articles, and learned its capabilities as disinfectant and antiseptic, as well as its famous role in teeth whitening.
You will also learn here that hydrogen peroxide could be also used as a remedy for toenail fungus.
It is recommended to use hydrogen peroxide of three percent (3%) strength.
Hydrogen peroxide for toenail fungus METHOD 1: Simple Soak
- Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 1 part water.
- Soak your feet in the mixture for about 15 minutes.
- Repeat 1x or 2x every day.
NOTE: Hydrogen peroxide could bleach the top layer of the skin, leaving it lighter. This is only a temporary effect, and normal skin color will return shortly.
Hydrogen peroxide for toenail fungus METHOD 2: Mix for power users
What you need: Hot water, Borax, Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of borax to hot water.
- Let it dissolve.
- Add equal parts of water, peroxide (3% strenght) and apple cider vinegar.
- Soak your feet (as much as possible) in the mixture for about 30-45 minutes.
- Repeat daily, with occasional breaks.
Nail fungus prevention
Home remedies are great, but it would be even better if we’d pay attention to these prevention methods, to stop the fungus from ever showing up.
- Treat your shoes with baking soda: sprinkle a little baking soda in your shoes.
- Treat your socks with baking soda: sprinkle a little baking soda in your socks.
- Use an antifungal spray or powder.
- Wash your feet every day and dry them thoroughly (especially between the toes).
- Dust your feet with foot powder to eliminate sweaty feet.
- Keep your feet dry at all times.
- Change your socks every day, or more times a day if you are sweating heavy.
- Keep a spare pair of socks if you are traveling or working the whole day, so you can change.
- Wear breathable, good-sized shoes.
- Take your shoes off occasionally during the day.
- Eat healthier, less sugar.
- Regularly trim your nails. Keep them short, dry and clean.
- Don’t trim or damage the skin around your nails, as this may give germs green light to your skin and nails.
- Wear shoes around public places like public showers, pools, and locker rooms. But, and this really is important – in no circumstances DO NOT WEAR CROCKS.
- Do not share tools used for pedicures and manicures.
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly after touching infected nails to prevent spreading the infection further.
- Keep a close eye on your toes to detect a possible infection early, when it is easier to treat.
Factors that can increase the risk of developing nail fungus
- Heavy perspiration
- Minor skin or nail injuries
- Working in a humid environment
- Deformed or damaged nail
- Other nail disease or infection
- Wearing socks and shoes that have lousy ventilation and don’t absorb perspiration
- Tight footwear
- Wearing damp socks
- Moist skin for a prolonged period of time
- Walking barefoot in damp public places (shower rooms, swimming pools, gyms, shower rooms, locker rooms, …)
- Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis)
- Circulation problems
- Immune system problems
- High-sugar diet
- Manicures or pedicures done with shared tools (used on other people)
- Slow growing nails
- Genetics: family history of fungal infection
NOTE: Information provided on this page is based on researched web articles, scientific papers, and real-life experiences, but is no substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis or treatment. I am trying my best to keep all the information on this site objective and accurate, but it is always recommended to consult with your physician before treating any medical ailment.